Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Choir Uniforms: An Evolution of Choral Fashion

I have had my fair share of choral uniform fashions over the past few years and I would like to document some of them here.

In my formative years of Junior Choir, we wore white collared shirts and black pants with a red bow-tie like appendage wrapped around our neck. The way the red tie sat kind of reminded me of a red tongue.

In my years of Intermediate Choir, we wore navy kilts and I remember having to buy my own kilt pin for the skirt. I was not aware, until this point, that kilt pins just looked like large safety pins. Again, the navy kilt was topped off with a long-sleeved white collar shirt.

Then I entered a second choir, Chamber Choir, in addition to Intermediate Choir, and since this was a brand new choir, we received brand new uniforms! However, during one of our first performances, when we did not have uniforms yet, we wore the Children's Choir uniforms which were yellow and brown plaid jumpers which kind of looked like birthing gown jumpers with white opaque tights and underneath was a short-sleeved navy mock neck shirt.

Once Chamber Choir did get uniforms, however, they kind of looked like Nun outfits but they always looked quite good on stage. Strength in numbers! The Chamber Choir uniform was a long navy dress-jumper but underneath was a long sleeved white shirt and we attached a crisp white collar around our neck.

In a smaller group that I sang in with my friends, Con Fuoco, budget was of a concern so we mainly just wore the black clothes we owned but to tie things together we all wore a different coloured music scarf which we all owned. However, we went through quite an evolution of uniforms since we had casual and formal looks :)

Another uniform I have worn is with the University choir I was in last year. This dress was a much more standard uniform, something that can be ordered out of a uniform catalogue. It was just a long short-sleeved dress in an hourglass shape but in the centre there was a triangle of white fabric showing to give contrast to the dress.

Currently, the women's choir, Belle Canto, I am in has quite a nice uniform where we wear long black skirts and we wear velvet cardigan on top with a velvet tank top underneath. What makes this uniform special is the rhinestone buttons on the velvet cardigan. They sparkle under stage lights. We are currently on the hunt for some new uniforms since we want something that isn't as hot as velvet when we tour in the summers. We received some sample dresses from uniform companies and a few showed promise while the others just looked like medieval witch costumes. It's alright though since we're recycling some of these witch costumes because we're putting on a Broadway Fundraiser and we need witch costumes for the girls singing the part of Elphaba from Wicked. Resourcefulness at its best!

Overall, it's interesting to see the variety of choral uniforms out there. Each of one them are unique to that particular choir and each one represents a choir's image. What a uniform is really doing is allowing choristers to physically and visually display a unified front in performance and it is amazing the kind of power and self-confidence that emerges from wearing a uniform. Not only does a choir need to sound unified but they must look and feel unified. Whether the uniform is good, bad, or ugly is not of utmost importance, rather, the way a chorister feels while wearing the uniform is one of the most important things to consider.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, the uniforms in the fourth picture down are actually the same ones that my school uses for the beginning choir's uniforms. I liked them better than the uniforms of the higher choir I'm in now, tbh. :3